The Epidemiology Unit was established in 1959 with assistance from the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen surveillance of communicable diseases. Initially, the unit functioned with a WHO consultant and a national counterpart, who, after further training in epidemiology, was appointed in 1961, as the Epidemiologist of the Department of Health Services. Prior to this, the functions of epidemiological surveillance were under the guidance of a Senior Medical Officer (Epidemiology) in the Department of Health Services. From its inception, the Epidemiological Unit worked very closely with the Public Health Veterinary Officer (presently the Director, Public Health Veterinary Services) and the Medical Statistician, and were all located at Chelsea Gardens, Colombo 3.
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